Friday 15 April 2016

Non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) refers to a number of different techniques which are being investigated for their ability to help with the recovery of movement after stroke.  NIBS techniques include:  repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), paired associative stimulation (PAS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).

Although there are already numerous studies and reviews for the use of NIBS in arm and hand recovery after stroke, the use of NIBS for the recovery of the leg and walking after stroke is a newly emerging field of research.  

Published in the journal, Disability and Rehabilitation, a new review of the research into NIBS for the recovery of leg movement and walking suggests that although NIBS can bring about changes in leg function, the design of existing studies are very different, making it difficult to determine its effectiveness.

The authors of the study suggest that future research would need to be more systematic in its approach to assessing aspects of movement recovery, need to test measures for who would be most likely to benefit, and assess the effectiveness of NIBS with studies that include a large number of participants before NIBS could be considered for use in clinical practice.

This study was co- funded by a King’s College London doctoral studentship (awarded to first author of the review, Ms Melanie Fleming),  and a project grant awarded to Professor Di Newham by the Stroke Association (TSA 2013-09) .

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